When it comes to travel, the majority of us are end-goal oriented -- focused on the experiences we're going to have once we arrive. We rate our trips based on destination variables like the weather, the value of our dollar, the people, the food and the activities. Me? I'm a big believer in the journey -- the magical in-between when your trip has yet to be realized and everything still exists in your imagination.
Toronto Pearson recently welcomed its 40 millionth passenger -- a major milestone for a large airport -- and I got to thinking about all 40 million of the journeys we've helped along.
Below are three things that make the journey as exciting as the destination itself.
1. At-home technology:
It's been said that journeys truly start at home. They begin with a desire or a need to travel: returning to our hometown, visiting friends, or going to a place we've never ventured before. Once it's time to put that plan into action, today's technology gives us the freedom to do it all from the comfort of our couch.
Technology has closed the gap on booking travel, and redefined the trip planning experience. It's now easier to use your mobile devices to compare prices, hotels and excursions with online services like Expedia and Kayak, which allow us to curate our own idealistic visions without the help of agents or guides, piecing together itineraries based on high-res photos, virtual tours, online reviews and research on the area itself.
With the world at your fingertips, there's endless opportunity to daydream about your trip well before it begins.
2. Sophisticated transit:
Gone are the days when driving yourself to the airport was your only option. Safer, more efficient, environmentally-friendly options without sky-high costs are emerging in cities across the globe:
- Travel to Shanghai's Pudong International Airport via the Maglev Train, the first commercially high-speed magnetic levitation line in the world;
- Japan's Shinkansen, otherwise known as the Bullet Train, is the fastest way of getting to and from the airport, reaching maximum operating speeds of 320 km/hour;
- Take Vancouver's Skytrain for stunning views of the mountains and the city; or
- Hop aboard Toronto's UP Express for a traffic free trip to Toronto Pearson that runs every 15 minutes.
Among these more sophisticated transit systems are cabs, subways, streetcars and buses that will help you get to where you need to be. So leave your keys (and the traffic) at home, because we're moving away from car-centric models.
3. Enhanced customer experience:
Round the world, transit through an airport has never looked so good. Between security and your gate, you can look forward to a growing mecca of amenities including:
- Airport entertainment like you've never seen before, like the skating rink in Seoul's Incheon Airport, or one of a dozen concerts that take place each week at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
- Wi-Fi with additional perks and benefits, like American Express Cloud 10 offered at Toronto Pearson
- Health and wellness services, like the Elemis Travel Spa at London Heathrow that helps travellers relax before a long flight
- Access to globally-recognized luxury brands like Michael Kors, Burberry, and Victoria's Secret.
And, good news! -- significant investment in more efficient ways to travel -- think automated processing and screening machines, mobile passports, and online check-in -- means you've now got more time to enjoy what airports have to offer on your next layover. It's all about the customer experience, and making your journey an enjoyable one.
With all of this ahead of you, why wait to get started on your next journey?
Correction: A previous version of this blog stated that the UP Express train to Toronto Pearson Airport runs every 25 minutes, when it actually run every 15 minutes.
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